Journalists in Danger

Israel bans Palestinian journalists from covering Gaza disengagement

The International Federation of Journalists today renewed its appeal to Israel to end the ban on accreditation for Palestinian journalists, which prevents local media from covering the end of the Israeli occupation of the Gaza Strip. “This is a historic moment for Palestinians,” said Aidan White, General Secretary of the IFJ, as the work to remove settlements in the area began, “but local journalists cannot cover the story because Israel discriminates against Palestinian journalists and refuses to grant them press cards that will give them access to the area.” Only a handful of Palestinian journalists have been granted a card allowing them to cross into Gaza to cover the story. 

Gunmen kidnap France 3 soundman in Gaza

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders has condemned the 14 August 2005 kidnapping of France 3 television crew soundman Mohamed Ouathi by three gunmen in Gaza and urged the Palestinian authorities to do everything possible to ensure that he is quickly released. Ouathi and the three other members of the French television station’s crew - Gwenaëlle Lenoir, Michel Anglade and Franck Pairaud - were returning to their hotel when they were intercepted by three gunmen. The other crew members were able to escape but Ouathi was taken away at gunpoint. France 3 condemned Ouathi’s abduction as a “violation of press freedom” and called for his “immediate release.” 

French journalist turned back while trying to enter West Bank

Reporters Without Borders has condemned the action of the Israeli authorities in turning back French journalist Houda Ibrahim, of Radio France Internationale (RFI), as she tried to cross into the West Bank from Jordan on 3 July 2005. “It is completely unacceptable that a French journalist, who is moreover representing the French government, should be prevented from doing her job, and we call on the Israeli government to explain this arbitrary measure,” the organisation said. Ibrahim flew from Paris to the Jordanian capital of Amman and went overland in a French consulate vehicle to the West Bank border, where she was refused entry into the occupied Palestinian territories. 

Israeli army to take no action against officer in journalist's death

The Israel Defense Forces said today that it would not take disciplinary action against an officer thought responsible for the May 2003 shooting death of British freelance cameraman and film director James Miller in the Gaza Strip. The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply disturbed by the decision, which comes one month after the army declined to press criminal charges against the officer. “We are appalled that nearly two years after the death of James Miller, no one has been held accountable,” CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said. “The failure to assign any responsibility for this shocking and unnecessary death reflects an official disregard for the safety of journalists.” 

Federation of Journalists condemns intimidation of whistleblower

The International Federation of Journalists today accused Israel of bullying and intimidation in its continuing campaign against Mordechai Vanunu, the man who spent 18 years in jail for telling the world that Israel possesses nuclear weapons but who may be sent back to prison - for talking to reporters. “Israel is creating a new crime - of talking to journalists,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “It is a shocking betrayal of democratic principles in what is a vindictive campaign of bullying and intimidation against a man who has served his time.” Vanunu was served with official notice yesterday that he is to be brought to trial for breaking draconian restrictions imposed on him by the authorities following his release from prison in April last year. 

Israeli forces seriously wound Palestinian journalist in Gaza

PCHR condemns shooting at a Palestinian journalist by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Sunday, 2 January 2004, when he was covering an Israeli military incursion into the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. The journalist was seriously wounded by a live bullet. PCHR is concerned at the escalation of attacks by IOF on journalists and media crews, which is further evidence of the use of excessive force by IOF against civilians in general and amounts to a  systematic targeting of journalists in an attempt to silence the press. The goal of which is to prevent journalists from reporting about attacks on Palestinian civilians. 

Journalists accuse Israel of "disgraceful abuse" over arrest of Vanunu

The International Federation of Journalists today accused the Israeli authorities of “a disgraceful abuse of democracy” over the intimidation of Mordechai Vanunu, the whistle-blower arrested yesterday by Israeli police just six months after his release from jail, where he served 18 years for telling the world about Israel’s nuclear arsenal. “It is extraordinary that a country calling itself the only democracy in the Middle East is itself guilty of this disgraceful and grotesque abuse of democracy,” said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “Vanunu has served his time but continues to be persecuted.” 

IPI Intifada Report Says Press Freedom Deteriorating: Heavy Media Casualties, Perpetrators Go Unpunished

The International Press Institute (IPI) today published the IPI Intifada Report, a chronicle and statistical analysis of 562 press freedom violations during the first four years of the Palestinian Uprising. At least 478 press freedom violations were carried out by the Israeli state, including the government, the judiciary, and even the legislators. Sixteen violations were committed by Israeli settlers and civilians. Three were perpetrated jointly by Israeli soldiers and settlers. As a result, at least 497 abuses, or 88.4 per cent of all violations, were perpetrated by Israelis. Another 29 violations were carried out by the Palestinian authorities, 15 by Palestinian militants, 7 by Palestinian civilians, and one jointly by Palestinian authorities and civilians. 

CNN producer kidnapped in Gaza City

The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned about the kidnapping this evening of a CNN producer in Gaza City by unknown gunmen. CNN reported that Riyadh Ali, a veteran producer for the station, was seized at gunpoint from a car in which he was a passenger with CNN colleagues, including correspondent Ben Wedeman. In an interview on CNN, Wedeman said a gunman emerged from a white Peugeot, came toward the CNN team, and demanded to know which of them was Ali. After the CNN producer was identified, he was taken from the car by the gunman, Wedeman said. Several other armed men were with him. 

CNN producer released in Gaza City

CNN producer Riad Ali was freed and in the custody of Palestinian police today, a day after being abducted by gunmen on a main street in Gaza City, CNN reported. CNN President Jim Walton said the station was “enormously relieved” that Ali had been released. “His ordeal serves to highlight the dangers faced by journalists around the world and we at CNN are grateful that this incident ended the way it did.” CNN said a tape surfaced shortly before Ali’s release in which the producer said he was being held by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade that earlier denied involvement in the kidnapping, and had joined other groups in condemning it.